Dear Michael Rapino,
I derive great joy from the various acts that cross your website. One could say that my concert-going repertoire would be quite barren, should you cease to exist. But I have a serious problem with your shtick.
Let’s go back to the summer of last year: my father is obsessed with the Grateful Dead. They had long laid relatively dormant since Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995. That is until Sirius XM broadcast their 50th anniversary revival tour in 2015 featuring Trey Anastasio from Phish playing Jerry. My dad listened to the concert all night. The Dead had risen from their grave. Dad immediately bought tickets to see them on behalf of my whole family. He spent more in 5 minutes than I have saved from 6 months of working.
You’re in the business of profiting off of dreams. Little boys and girls who spent their days listening to worn-out, bootleg cassettes with their parents share a priceless bond unlike most others. Bands, such as Steely Dan, The Eagles, and, for my bearded, red-eyed, floral-pattern family, The Dead, scratch the itch of unbridled nostalgia in those who listened to these bands in their youth. People who once attended these concerts using weekend dog shit scooping money now have a chance to relive the magic.
Lucky for you, these people have deep pockets. The insane markups of your tickets are nauseating. What was once a $60 ticket at the venue window now fetches over $200 once it passes through your slimy cogs of rabid capitalism. All for the convenience of ordering at home. Can you hear me heaving and retching from where you’re sitting?
And you don’t get your rocks off over markups alone, no. Just when those unfortunate enough to succumb to your wiles reluctantly open their wallets, you assault them with “convenience” fees. Can we take an aside for a second? I’ll be honest, the only convenience I can attest to is how convenient the channel from my bank account to your coffers is.
Back to last summer, let’s sit in on that concert. Bob Weir looks older than dirt, but he still shreds on the guitar. Mickey Hart’s rhythmic drumming echoes across the Oakdale. And John fucking Mayer plays Jerry Garcia better than Jerry Garcia could at times. And the time machine is in full effect at this point. Moms and dads, who might spend their days mashing on keyboards and pushing pencils, can be seen cavorting in tie-dye gowns and tee shirts, doing whippets, munching shrooms, and rolling joints, giggling and taking in the psychedelic sounds coming from the stage. Should their kids be here, they might actually expire from embarrassment.
But I just can’t fucking afford it. Dead and Company is coming to Hartford again, and even if I were to see them by myself, I’d be shelling out $150 for a good seat, plus the poorly named convenience fees, plus travel to get there, and, finally, the overpriced beer, food, and concert swag at the venue.
No thanks. Shakedown Street covers The Dead pretty damn convincingly, and they play at local bars in Connecticut. Places that might serve a two dollar Saturday draft beer special and put out a free pizza to snack on. Places that are on the bus route, letting me quietly stumble home after one too many. Places that don’t have to bow down to the almighty Ticketmaster muttering “Please, I don’t want any unsold tickets! I need to feed my family and keep the heat on! Buy all the tickets you want!”
And Shakedown Street has a coupon on Craigslist.